Our Notable Women series features inspirational women who are leaders in their field and who we personally admire. We have deliberately chosen to profile women with a variety of different backgrounds, ages and careers in order to celebrate the diversity and creativity of the modern woman.
introducing our second interviewee
—LUISA MORA MADRIÑAN
Luisa Mora Madriñan is a 25 year old Mechanical Engineering graduate and professional sportswoman from Bogota, Colombia. Luisa is a true modern woman in that she wears multiple hats; as a pro cyclist, a sailing pro, a teacher, an engineer and co-founder of a charity.
In each of these areas she has excelled and her achievements are truly impressive. At the tender age of 12 she became part of the Colombia National Sailing Team and remains so today. Then at 21 she took a snap decision to sail across the Atlantic in a 45 feet sailing boat just for the challenge!
Ordinarily, this would be enough to keep most people busy but at 19 Luisa then decided to co-found a charity that aims to close the gap between the social class divide in Colombia.
Amongst many other achievements, Luisa has also become a professional cyclist and is a proud member of GO! women's cycling team. As this is one of her many passions she’s very happy to be an ambassador for Rapha as part of the travel team that takes groups of cyclists on adventures all over the world as well as tailoring their newest destination—Colombia.
WHAT IS YOUR AVERAGE DAY LIKE?
I rarely have a typical day because my schedule changes based on the seasons and what sport I’m involved in when. For example, right now I’m living in Germany teaching sailing and after a few months, I’ll head back to my home country of Colombia.
Wherever I am in the world, I always start the day with coffee and of course, I always do something active! I make a conscious effort to try to meet someone different and interesting each day. One of the things I enjoy most about the travelling nature of my job is meeting fascinating people from all over the world.
What do you see as your biggest
achievement(s) to date?
Having the varied and interesting life I’m living right now. I’m a Mechanical Engineer by training but I love travelling and currently, I’m managing to combine my work with my other interests. I couldn’t just sit in an office. I love to be out and about and get great satisfaction from teaching people new skills such as sailing and cycling.
Which other women inspire you
the most and why?
My grandma is a huge inspiration to me. She has lived through a period in Colombian history where there has been so much change, from women not even having the right to vote or study to this new era where we have so many more opportunities. She is fully embracing this new era and enjoying every moment. She truly knows how to enjoy every moment and is always smiling.
I also really admire sportswomen such as Ellen MacArthur. Her determination and ability to resolve daily struggles whilst sailing around the world is an inspiration.
Have you noticed a shift in terms of how women are being portrayed in the media in the last few years?
Thanks to social media, women are able to have more control over how they present themselves rather than it being so tightly controlled by mainstream media. I think that, as a result of this, there is more diversity in terms of how women are conveyed and more individual viewpoints, which is a good thing.
What do you think women are looking for from brands today?
I’m not sure this applies just to women but I think people in general are looking for multi-tasking products that are both good looking and extremely comfortable or functional. Many brands right now, particularly in the sports/active area either look good or perform well but few do both. Another point is that in the sports sector, I think men have much more choice and better kit available. Options for women are sadly still limited.
What are your favourite brands and why?
Most of my favourite brands are outdoors and sports brands. Patagonia products are amazing performers and I agree with their sustainable ethos. Of course, Rapha for cycling. Beauty-wise, I like natural products such as Burts Bees. Oh and I can’t live without my Aeropress coffee maker!
Do you think we need another term to replace ‘empowered’?
Until more women around the world are truly empowered, I think the term is still very important as it’s a useful short-hand to talk about equality. In Colombia, where I’m from, we’re only just entering an era where there are more opportunities for women. However, there is still much more work to be done to achieve true equality.